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Archive for November, 2012

Restaurant inspections, Grand Buffet

A Chinese restaurant in Duluth saw its inspection score drop recently because the staff did not document how long food had been left out on the buffet service.

Grand Buffet, 1825 Liddell Lane, Duluth, received a 51/U on the Nov. 6 routine inspection.

The inspector noted that time control procedures were not being followed because food items on the serving line were not marked with start and discard times. The amount of time food can be left out without temperature controls must be documented, according to the inspector.

Among other violations, live bugs were discovered in a bulk container of flour. The inspector had the flour discarded.

Raw fish was being thawed improperly in standing water instead of the approved method of placing it under lukewarm running water.

Employees were not washing their hands as frequently as required. At the time of the inspection, an employee washing dirty dishes was also handling clean dishes while wearing the same gloves. The employee should …

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The Ins and Outs of In-N-Out Burger

IMG_5817A few weeks ago I took my daughter to Los Angeles to look at colleges. Though it was tempting, I decided not to turn this trip into a big eating adventure filled with dinners at the kind of restaurants that earn you foodie bragging rights. Instead, we hung out with friends and ate wherever convenience directed us.

One friend made us wonderful braised rabbit he bought from a market that sold them live and butchered them on the spot. Another took us to an entertainment industry party where we got to gawk at famous people and shove surprisingly good cheese panini into our gobs. And then, without much research, we ended up at a terrific Shanghaiese restaurant in the San Gabriel Valley that serves pan fried pork buns called sheng jian bao, bready wonders of culinary engineering that crunch with sesame seeds and gush hot soup when you bite into them.

There was, in fact, only one name restaurant I was interested in trying: In-N-Out Burger. This fast-food chain has been an L.A. staple …

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Restaurant inspections, Great Wall Buffet

A Paulding County restaurant recently failed a routine health inspection because there were no time markings indicating how long the buffet had been left out.

Also, some of the cold items were being served at temperatures exceeding the range for food safety.

Great Wall Buffet, 4484 Jimmy Lee Smith Parkway, Hiram, scored a 58/U on its routine inspection Oct. 29. The restaurant has since improved, scoring an 89/B on a follow-up inspection.

During the routine visit, the inspector said foods on the buffet line could not be served because there were no records showing how long they had been there.

In addition, the sushi, which was not labeled, had a temperature of 68 degrees, well above the 41-degree limit. Cantaloupe and honeydew melons were also too warm, both with temperatures of 58 degrees. The sushi and melons were discarded.

In other violations, raw beef and won tons were left uncovered in the freezer and subject to contamination. There were dented and rusted cans of …

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Additional options for hosting holiday events in Atlanta

The Pond Room at Spice Market

The Pond Room at Spice Market

Atlanta has many options available for private dining. If you’re planning a social or corporate function this holiday season, it’s time to make those reservations. See yesterday’s article on venues for private holiday dining. Here are a few additional restaurants accepting reservations for your festivities.

Modern Restaurant + Bar

  • This new restaurant serving American fare with an emphasis on seafood has several options for holiday gatherings. The glass encased Vista room will host groups of 30 while the Outlook room overlooking the bar and dining room will accommodate 12. Five- to seven-course tasting menus are available for your event.

Spice Market at W Atlanta Midtown

  • Spice Market offers two private dining rooms that will accommodate guests for both seated and cocktail-style events. The Trellis room is the smaller of the two, seating 35 guests or holding 45 for hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. The larger Pond room will host 75 seated or …

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Top Chef Seattle recap, Episode 1: Back at it again

Credit: Bravo

Credit: Bravo

Oh, Top Chef. After the gimmick-ridden mess that was Top Chef Texas, I’m heading into this new season in Seattle feeling like you are the crazy ex-girlfriend that I just can’t seem to stay away from.

After some of the more contrived stunts from last year – remember the whole cross country skiing/shooting challenge or the Alamo bike ride to serve Pee Wee Herman? – I was ready to break up with her for good.

But, here we are, and it is the premier for the 10th season of Top Chef. And here I am, convincing myself that it will be different this time, that she isn’t as crazy as she used to be. But she just looks so good in a chefs coat, know what I mean?

Much like Texas, we start off this season in the last phase of tryouts, with some more fat to trim before we have our final line up. Fortunately, instead of starting with a small army of cheftetants and wasting two episodes on their mass eliminations, we have 21 chefs split into 4 groups, their fate in the …

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Beyond Pimento: A Guide to Southern Cheeses

Selection of Southern cheeses at Star Provisions (credit: Hyosub Shin)

Selection of Southern cheeses at Star Provisions (credit: Hyosub Shin)

Cheese maker Nathan Arnold — clad in knee-high yellow rubber boots, shorts, a cotton T-shirt and a white skullcap — hovers over a stainless steel tank the size of a kiddie pool. Here is where cheese happens. Inside this tank, heated raw milk will meet live cultures and rennet, causing the milk to sour and curdle in the most exquisite way.

Nathan Arnold at Sequatchie Cove Creamery (credit: John Kessler)

Nathan Arnold at Sequatchie Cove Creamery (credit: John Kessler)

There’s just one problem: The two dozen cows contentedly munching pasture grasses just outside the creamery building aren’t currently producing enough milk to actually make cheese. So the tank will remain empty for the next couple of months, while Arnold’s supply of his celebrated Alpine-style cheese dwindles. Demand has far outpaced supply this season, and he will soon have to break the news to loyal fans throughout the Southeast that Dancing Fern — his pungent and gloriously oozy washed-rind …

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Venues for private holiday parties

Although it may be difficult to believe, the holidays are quickly approaching. Restaurants are accepting reservations for holiday parties. If you’re considering hosting a soiree for an upcoming business or social event, now is the time to secure a date. Here are some private dining options to help you plan those festivities.Jenny-Turknett-Review

The formal affair

If you plan to host a formal business or social function that’s fit for foodies, Rathbun’s Restaurant has your bases covered. Menus start at $50 per person for three courses and range up to $80 for five. They include some of the restaurant’s signature dishes such as the mock turtle soup with Dry Sack sherry, Maine lobster and roasted green chile taco with Cascabel cream, and the ever-popular banana peanut butter cream pie.

Wine, beer and spirits are charged based on consumption. The restaurant will guide you through its formula for pricing estimates based on beverage selection.

Rathbun’s has several private spaces available. The …

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California’s Labeling Law for Genetically Modified Foods Voted Down

prop 37Voters in California yesterday defeated Proposition 37, a proposed law that would have required food packagers to label all products made from genetically modified animals or plants.

This law, had it passed, would have put California at direct odds with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which does not demand GMO labeling.

Such labeling is required by every member country of the European Union, as well as many other nations.

Supporters of the proposition argued that the long-term health implications of ingesting GMO products have not been fully investigated and that GMO crops are increasingly resistant to herbicides. Opponents claim the new labeling would cost the average household more than $400 a year in additional grocery costs. More than 70% of all processed foods sold in the United States now contain genetically engineered ingredients, typically corn or soybeans.

Opponents heavily outspent supporters by a margin of more than 8:1. Among the companies that gave millions …

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Afternoon in the Country: food and photos

AITC 1Who says pork belly is on its way out? Not true, judging by the dishes served at last Sunday’s Afternoon in the Country hosted by the Atlanta Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier.

With more than 50 restaurants, wineries and other vendors dishing up samples, fall flavors and comfort foods dishes ruled the day. There were braised meats aplenty and some lovely soups, like the creamy smoked chestnut soup from Eleven, Bocado’s hearty turnip soup with celery and fennel, and a rich smoked duck and farro soup from Empire State South.

But pork belly reigned supreme, appearing in dish after dish. There were

Smoked bacon-wrapped quail from Rathbun's. The photo doesn't do it justice.

Bacon-wrapped quail from Rathbun's. The photo doesn't do it justice.

pork belly tacos and banh mi, pork belly with apple chips, kimchee and more. We even slurped pork belly Brunswick stew from Suzanne Vizethann from Buttermilk Kitchen and The Hungry Peach.

And while I’m still a fan of the almighty pork belly, my favorite dish of the day had to be the smoky and juicy bacon-wrapped …

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Sneak preview of Top Chef Seattle

tc-seattle-logoTomorrow is a big day for the country, and I think we all know how we will be spending our evening tomorrow night. That’s right…getting ready for the season premiere of Top Chef Seattle coming up this Wednesday.

Though it doesn’t provide enough information to start lining up your Fantasy Top Chef draft picks, Bravo has posted a sneak preview of the first 10 minutes of the upcoming season premiere online.

The sneak preview teaches us two very important things about the new season. First, there are at least two instances of ironic old-timey mustaches, and second, like last season, we will begin things with a crew of chefs who haven’t quite made it to the big show yet. The 3-part preview focuses on two teams of could-be cheftestants, each going through a trial-run on one of the judges’ restaurants. Tom Colicchio and Emeril run the chefs through a similar regiment of tests that they give any chef hoping to join their kitchen, and only those that are up to snuff will …

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